I read The Light between Oceans by ML Stedman over the past couple of weeks. It's a beautifully written story about a lighthouse keeper, love, family, surviving war, making choices and living with the consequences. It's also about guilt.
It's set in WA in the 1920s in a small SW town with a lighthouse off shore on Janus Rock. I've been to Augusta and the lighthouse there, and the town and lighthouse in the book was so incredibly depicted, that I had to go searching the internet to find out if it was a true story - only to find it was a fictitious town and lighthouse, modelled on the one I'd visited.
|View from Lighthouse
So I felt some kind of kinship to this book immediately because when we went to Augusta, I went real estate hunting. I've never done that before but i wanted to live there. It was wild, isolated, and ruggedly beautiful. Mr E tolerated my craziness for a time but then drove me away! I've attached some of my photos from the area.
The story is about decisions and repercussions. It's incredibly sad but also uplifting, which I know is a strange thing to be. But some of the decisions are so easily taken, have such disastrous effects, yet there's a beauty in seeing the tale unfold.
|Where two oceans meet
The lighthouse keeping work is fascinating. I'd love to have worked as a lighthouse keeper but I wonder if I could have handled the total isolation and the constant demands of the light - and I know I'd have struggled with those early starts! But the beauty of the job, the rhythm of the ocean, the importance of the light, all appeal to me.
As a debut novel, this is truly awe-inspiring. It shows such a depth of thought, a mastery of the art of story telling, and a skill with language. These are the kind of books that make me wonder what I'm doing writing - they freeze me up, make me doubt, just make my writing look like crap. I think I complained about it last week, without mentioning the book!
I borrowed the book from a friend but I think I might need my own copy. It's something I'd like to read again. I struggled finding time to read this story, so I did it in fits and starts. I like to fall totally into the story, and read it in a great glob. I want to do that. I want to be taken back to Augusta and swept into the 1920s job of lighthouse keeping.